Mercedes-Benz EQS Gets EPA Rating as Range War Heats Up

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    The EPA revealed the official range estimate of Mercedes’ electric flagship this week, just ahead of the start of the first deliveries. The rear-wheel drive, single-motor 329-hp version of the 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS 450+ received a 350-mile rating from the agency, with the all-wheel-drive, dual-motor 516-hp EQS 580 landing just south of that mark with a 340-mile rating. The rear-wheel drive EQS 450+ starts at $103,360, while the rear-wheel drive EQS 580 starts at $120,160.

    While Mercedes EV shoppers are likely pleased that the range penalty for the all-wheel-drive version is just 10 miles, the overall EQS range may not impress those who could be cross-shopping sedans from Lucid and Tesla, if miles-per-charge is an overriding factor in the purchase.

    Lucid made news a couple of weeks ago by receiving a 520-mile rating from the EPA—the industry’s best at the moment by a long shot—a few days ahead of the start of production in Arizona. The Performance version of the Air sedan will serve up 517 miles, while offering even more power than the Range flavor: 1111 hp compared to 933 hp. The Tesla Model S Long Range, meanwhile, is rated at 405 miles, while the Model S Plaid lands the closest to the EQS with an estimated range of 348 miles.

    Of course, range is not everything when it comes to luxury electric sedans as they’re rarely the sole cars in a household. Long-distance driving duties usually fall to another vehicle in the family fleet. Still, it may be difficult for buyers to look away from Lucid when shopping for sedans in this price category and segment, from a purely range- and power-for-the-buck perspective.

    The sedans that probably should be worried about their range ratings compared to Mercedes, Lucid, and Tesla are ones offered by Porsche and Audi. The Audi e-tron GT is advertised with a 238-mile range, while the Porsche Taycan 4S has scored a 227-mile rating. Both land below half the range of the Lucid Air—a fact that will be difficult to ignore once Air production hits its stride in the coming months. The Long Range Tesla Model S, now encumbered with the yoke-style steering, has not recorded all that many deliveries over the past year compared to other Tesla models, just ahead of turning a ripe old age of 10. A redesign may soon be needed to keep Tesla’s entry in the segment fresh beyond the many running changes that the automaker has introduced, as a new crop of electric sedans appears on store shelves.

    Is this the official start of the range and horsepower wars, after the debut of the Lucid Air? It can certainly feel that way.

    Now that several electric sedans are on the market or are about to arrive, the EV landscape may well start to resemble what was happening with personal computers in the 1990s: Technological improvements were occurring at such a pace that waiting a few months for a new model to arrive was often worth it, since it could offer significant gains in speed and power over existing models.

    Will the arrival of the Lucid Air prompt a similar dynamic, where lower-ranged sedans could be at an instant disadvantage in the market? Let us know in the comments below.

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